On a day where the FBI identifies possible violations from many basketball powerhouses around the country, Tennessee gets good news. Head coach Rick Barnes was named as one of 10 semifinalists for the Werner Ladder Naismith Trophy for Men’s College Coach of the Year on Wednesday.
Coach Barnes has been named one of 10 semifinalists for the @wernerladderco Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year 🍊🏀
— Tennessee Basketball (@Vol_Hoops) February 23, 2018
In what many thought would be another stepping stone year for a Tennessee program in a rebuilding stage, Barnes has the Volunteers rolling. In his third year, Barnes has taken a team that was projected 13th in the conference during preseason to a 20-7 record. Tennessee currently sits in second place in the SEC standings, just two games behind Auburn with three to play. Unless an absolute meltdown happens in the remaining regular season games, the Vols have wrapped up a double-bye in SEC tournament play.
Tennessee is No. 11 in RPI and is probably playing for a No. 3 or No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Vols have a strength of schedule’s is 24th in the country and they and have four wins (Purdue, Kentucky (2) and Texas A&M) over top-25 RPI teams. What’s more impressive is only one of their seven losses have come from a team outside the RPI top 50.
The four finalists will be announced on March 15. There is a fan vote that will account for five percent of the final selection score, which can be found here: www.naismithtrophy.com/vote. Fans can vote from March 19 to March 30.
The Werner Ladder Naismith Trophy will be announced at the Naismith Awards brunch on April 1.
The 10 Semifinalists
Rick Barnes – Tennessee
Bruce Pearl – Auburn
Jay Wright – Villanova
Matt Painter – Purdue
Chris Beard – Texas Tech
Tony Bennett – Virginia
Brad Brownell – Clemson
Mick Cronin – Cincinnati
Chris Holtmann – Ohio State
Chris Mack – Xavier